How do you tell if you just herniated a disc?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

When it comes to identifying a herniated or slipped disc, there are several common symptoms to look out for. It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person, and it’s always best to consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis. Here are some signs that you may have herniated a disc:

1. Pain on one side of the body: One of the primary symptoms of a herniated disc is pain that occurs on one side of the body, commonly in the lower back or neck. This pain can range from mild to severe and may worsen with certain movements or activities.

2. Radiating pain: A herniated disc can cause sharp pain that radiates down the leg, hip, or buttocks. This pain often follows the path of the affected nerve and is commonly referred to as sciatica. It may be accompanied by tingling or numbness in other parts of the leg as well.

3. Numbness or tingling: Along with the radiating pain, you may experience numbness or tingling in specific areas. This can include the back of the calf or sole of the foot, depending on which nerves are affected by the herniated disc.

4. Muscle weakness: In some cases, a herniated disc can lead to muscle weakness, especially in the legs. You may find it difficult to lift or control certain movements, and this weakness can impact your balance and coordination.

5. Changes in reflexes: Another potential sign of a herniated disc is a change in reflexes. Your doctor may test your reflexes to see if they are diminished or altered, which could indicate nerve compression caused by a herniated disc.

It’s worth noting that these symptoms can be similar to other conditions, such as muscle strains or nerve impingements, so a proper medical evaluation is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may perform a physical examination, review your medical history, and order imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan to confirm a herniated disc.

If you suspect you have herniated a disc, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate symptoms, prevent further damage, and improve your overall quality of life.